Clement of Alexandria Stromaties 8:4:16

Home / Clement of Alexandria Stromaties 8:4:16

We are justified therefore in ascribing piety to the gnostic, whose care is first for himself and then for his neighbours with a view to our attaining the highest standard of excellence. For so the son tries to please a good father by showing himself virtuous and like his father, and likewise the subject to please a good ruler; since belief and obedience are in our own power. But the cause of evils one might find in the weakness of matter, and the random impulses of ignorance and the irrational forces to which we fall victims from our incapacity to learn; whereas the gnostic gets the better of these wild elements by his learning, and benefits all who are willing, to the best of his power, in imitation of the divine purpose for men. Should he ever be placed in authority, he will rule, like Moses, with a view to the salvation of his subjects, and will quell what is savage and faithless by showing honour to the best, and by punishing the bad, punishment that is rightly classed under the head of education. For above all things, the soul of the just man is an image divine, made like to God himself,61 seeing that in it is enshrined and consecrated, by means of obedience to his commands, the Ruler of all mortals and immortals, the King and Parent of all that is noble, who is indeed Law and Ordinance and Eternal Word, the one Saviour both for each individually and for all in common. He is in truth the Only-begotten,62 the express image of the glory63 of the universal King and almighty Father, stamping on the mind of the gnostic the perfect vision after his own image; so that the divine image is now beheld in a third embodiment, assimilated as far as possible to the Second Cause, to him, namely, who is owing to whom we live the true life, copying the example of him who is made to us knowledge,65 while we converse with the things which are stable and altogether unchangeable.